Sunday, November 2, 2008

De Rode Ridder - Part One

I grew up with the comic strips of Willy Vandersteen, notably Suske and Wiske ... of more serious impact though was the strip series "De Rode Ridder" or "The Red Knight" with over 200 albums published between 1959 and today.

Johan, the Red Knight, is the main character in these strip albums.  His character embodies the chivaric ideal ... brave to the point of intrepid ... loyal and of course, an expert swordsman ...

In most of the albums he's a traveling knight fighting all sorts of evil threatening peaceful communities ... his travel have brought him all over the world ... Egypt, South America, Atlantis (!) , China etc.  ... even outer space figured as a background for a couple of stories  ... 

Chronologically the stories are placed from the 6th century to the 16th century, thus covering a wide range of historical events.  King Arthur, Crusades, Battle of the Golden Spurs and 15-16th century life in Flanders.

These strips always featured gorgeous damsels in distress in need of rescue ... pretty much the sexiest books I got my hands on growing up ... lol ...   

Relationships were purely platonic in line with the ideals of chivalric duties.

The Red Knight however was in love with Galaxa, the Faerie of Light.  She could only appear for a few brief moments in Johan's world.  Together however they fight evil and injustice in the hope to be joined together in a future ...

 There was also considerable romantic tension suggested between the Red Knight and Demonia, the henchwoman form Bahaal, the Prince of Darkness.  

Other recurring women in the strip are Morning Star and Isjtar, both loyal colleague faeries from Galaxia, always ready to give a lending hand when Galaxia is weakened in battles with Demonia.
As such these strips had appeal for both teenagers and adults alike ...

The women in this strip series do not follow the stereotypes of the historical background.  These woman are all emancipated,  independent, love their personal freedom and all have important responsibilities to fulfill in the story.

Although The Red Knight often had to rescue damsels in distress, they were all strong women.

The Red Knight's unobtainable love for Galaxia is often the driver for his actions and needless to say that all plots have a happy ending.

*   *   *

I'm a Red Knight.

*   *   *

Continued ..

No comments: